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|Official Report Exposes Reasons for Country's Economic Deterioration|
THE YEMEN POST)
Article Date: May 12, 2008
In 'Poverty Alleviation and Unemployment Reduction' report recently released, Consultative (Shoura) Council exposed its vision aiming to get out of the dark tunnel; however, some parts especially those that address the real situation of the Yemeni economy have been deleted.
The report revealed that over 80 percent of Yemenis are deprived of basic services, while just a limited number of Yemenis enjoy utter richness, rank and money, mostly illegal.
About 41 percent of population lives on less than $2 a day and 85 percent of population live in the countryside. Similarly, 40 percent of population in urban and rural areas suffer from poverty. The resolution of the National Defense Council's resolution demanded allocating salaries for 10 million poor people at a monthly security of $15 per family.
Unemployment rates in Yemen hit 17 percent and it is increasing because of the few opportunities provided by both public and private sectors which hold just very few numbers of qualified incumbents.
The risk stems from the fact that illiteracy rates in the country mount to 47 percent and further education institutes are incapable of containing the increased number of students at primary and secondary levels.
Agriculture represents up to 19 percent of the gross national product and contains 30 percent of employees and the vegetated lands mount to 68 percent out of 2.5 of Yemen's fertile and arable lands, while 33 percent of fertile lands are not exploited.
The inflation rates reaches 12 percent and this causes an increase in living costs and services as for middle and poor classes and this does not fit into the individual income especially those working against wages.
The situation gets worse with more deterioration in economy, resulting mainly from the constant wars and internal clashes and this takes up most of the national resources. It also pollutes the investment environment.
Prompted by the absence of state, there has been a wide disparity between people and classes based on sectarianism, fantasism, kinship, tribal affiliation, etc. and these add to the existing crises.
Further, there is not real judicial accountability over exploiting and wasting the public money, job and property for illegal benefits, especially with high government posts where officials are not held on account.
Lack of investment as an important means for containing unemployment and poverty is another reason because this forces the national capital to invest outside the country.
Underground water resources are running out, especially with big quantities of water being used for irrigating Qat which takes up 26 percent of family income. The matter gets worse with more people leaving their rural dwelling and shifting to cities. This creates problems in cities under the lack of scarcity of basic services and job opportunities.
Moreover, the Arab and foreign capital is not avoiding to investment in Yemen, mainly because of the slow judicial measures and weak performance of judicial systems.
More problems awaiting solutions
Yemeni government faces difficulties in providing basic services for over 129,000 population congregations nationwide especially when these congregations exist in rugged terrains and extended plains and deserts and this multiplies the costs required for providing the basic services and infra-structure.
Meanwhile, unfavorable deeds and bad habits and crimes spread among the dwellers of slums and impoverished areas.
In return, Yemeni population increase with annual percentage of 3.5 and fertility rates mount to 7.5, with youth and children making up 51 percent of population.
Those able to read reach 38 percent, and 74 percent live in the rural areas. Further, infant fertility rates mounts 11.7 percent, one of the highest rates worldwide. Just 20 percent of population gets drinking water and electricity. Poverty rates reach 42 percent, of which 85 percent in the countryside.
Meanwhile, what has been pledged in Donor Conference for bridging the finance gap until 2015 and meant for meeting the four goals relating to alleviating poverty, primary education, improving health and providing drinking water and sanitation services are not enough as the total deficit in this respect could reach $84. They gave no attention to the foreseeable price increases.
Stopping the direct support of services and food commodities has caused an increase in family bill and it helped increase poverty. Most people have turned to be poor after they were middle-class affiliates.
International warnings and required reforms
One of the most steps meant for reigning unemployment is to provide a safe environment for investment at security, judicial and taxation levels as well as facilitating measures and providing all required basic services. Above all come preventing the armed manifestations and achieving real political reforms.
The report criticized the Yemeni government for selling gas to Total and other affiliated companies while official and strategic report stress that any quantity of gas should not be exported only in case it covers people's needs.
It also demanded reconsideration of the financial policy, especially in matters relating to treasury bills and foreign currency reserves as these two resources should be directed for empowering the Yemeni currency and keeping a minimal reserve to face any potential fluctuations of prices.
Further, the report called for establishing residential cities for limited-income, middle class affiliates, armed forces and security as well as other public servants, hinting these are key factors for more security and stability.
Deleted parts from the report
One of the reasons for spread of poverty and unemployment is the weak performance of leaders as well as the rampage of fantasism, mediation and appointing people linked to officials in kinship over those who are eligible and efficient. Further, they enjoy protection against any accountability by their corrupt high ranking officials.
The report listed 38 reasons that lead to poverty and unemployment including violating effective laws, exploiting power and influence, provoking the feelings of poor people, corruption rampage, imposing bribes and interests.Other reasons are lack of equality as for appointing, promotion and scholarships in public and mixed sectors. Meanwhile, the constant price hikes and the increased inflation caused more people to quickly descend from middle class to join poor class people.